Roman Republic. L. Hostilius Saserna. Rome, 48 BC

Roman Republic. L. Hostilius Saserna. Rome, 48 BC


AR Denarius, 3.93g (20mm, 5h). Bearded male bust r., draped; behind, Gallic shield. Border of dots / Biga r. driven by charioteer holding whip in l. hand and reins in r. hand; behind , on biga, warrior facing backwards and holding shield in l. hand and hurling spear with r. hand; above, L-HOSTILIVS; below, SASERN. border of dots.

Pedigree: Ex M&M 18 Sept 1992, lot 140. Ex Sotheby's (Zürich) 28 Oct 1993, lot 1343. Ex Triton III, 30 Nov 1999, lot 933. From the Marian A. Sinton Collection

References: Crawford 448/2a. FFC 754 (this coin)

Grade: A few minor die break on the obverse, otherwise a wonderfully complete strike with a touch of die wear. Reverse is complete but has evidence of die wear. EF/VF+ (rr1130)

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This coin is very desirable among collectors as the obverse displays the Gallic warrior Vercingetorix (or it is at least believed to be). Aside from a generation of us who grew up on Asterix and Obelix, Vercingetorix was a Gaulish king and chieftain who successfully stood up to Julius Caesar during the Gallic Wars. Unfortunately shortly after the initial success, Vercingetorix was defeated by the Romans and in order to save as many of his fellow soldiers as possible he surrendered to Caesar. For five long years Vercingetorix was made a slave and held captive by the Romans. He eventually was strangled to death in 46 BC at the command of Julius Caesar.

Vercingetorix is still considered a local hero in his native Auvergne, France.